Beginners Guide to Lightweight Hiking

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On an overnight or several-day hike, your pack can be either your best friend or the bane of your existence. Getting your gear right by packing light and smart is the best preparation you can do (and thank yourself for later).


The List:

15kms into the wilderness is not the best place to realise you've forgotten to pack something really important, so use a basic list to make sure your hike is set up for thrilling success.

Shelter & Clothing

  • Sleeping Bag - keep it as light and tight as possible. Grab a lightweight, yet warm bag that won't take up half your pack space. We recommend Vango Ultralight 200 for excellent value or Vango Venom 150 for an extremely light (650g) down bag.

  • A firm, thin, lightweight sleeping mat is as important for warmth and comfort as your sleeping bag. Vango has an Ultralight Self-Inflating Mat that is just 650g.

  • Tent - it is very easy to load on the kilos with your tent, so think super-lightweight and small. Look around for materials that are specifically chosen for their strength and lightness. Consider tents such as Luxe Spider II or Vango Helium 200.

  • Warm, breathable and quick-drying clothing - several light layers are more effective than one heavy article of clothing. Take one extra set of clothing. No more - save your back! Stuff clothes into empty corners of your pack for efficient use of space. We recommend Weft Thermadry thermals for warmth and excellent wicking ability.

  • Rain poncho/ pack cover - wet sleeping bags, tents and clothes are a real mood dampener, so protect your future comfort by being prepared for rain.



Food & Water

  • Hydration - consider where you're going and whether there is a reliable water source. Use a 2 or 3 Litre hydration pack for space saving or fill water bottles with enough to last until refilling is possible. A small and light water purifier is a great idea, or water purification tablets.

  • Hearty Food - think compact, full of energy and easy. Rice and oats are great because they're filling, light and expand when cooked. Canned beans are fantastic for energy, just be careful of adding too much weight with canned food. Anything dried is superb, as is store-bought dehydrated or ready made food in pouches. Put all food in sturdy plastic bags for water-tightness and leave the space-wasting tupperware containers at home!

  • Snacks - find something you enjoy that's high in protein and energy (and won't melt in your pocket). Trail snack with dried fruit and nuts is ideal.



Essentials and Utensils

  • 1 spoon, 1 cup, 1 billy and billy grippers. That's all you really need. Find utensils/pots in lightweight materials and everything can fit inside the billy.

  • Small stove and fuel - gas is the preferred fuel for "eco-friendly". For example the Soto OD-1BS is very compact, only 320g including it's gas canister.

  • Matches/lighter, a Multitool or Swiss Army Knife and a compact First-aid Kit.

  • Map, compass and flashlight (a headlamp is more useful than a handheld flashlight).

  • Sunblock, lipbalm, insect repellent - take care of yourself in the outdoors and keep comfortable!

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste - they may seem surplus to necessity, but they are light and you'll really miss them if they're left at home.


Packing lightly and efficiently, with only the things you really need keeps your hiking adventure fun, rejuvenating and memorable.

The Adventure Expert Store Stocks at range of products especially designed to keep your pack light.

Check out our store for more

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